Thursday, 31 May 2012

Pregnancy Diary: Driving Test at 32wks = FAIL!

Today I took my first driving test... Yeah, you guessed it...... I failed...  ^^^ but not as badly as that!! ^^^

I am not surprised, upset or annoyed though I'm just bleuggghhh... I had a bit of a cry when I got back though because it was my own fault, they were stupid mistakes and I am slightly hormonal, you know being 32 weeks pregnant and all that! But really I am not kicking myself too much about it, there's only a 43% pass rate on the test itself and I wasn't alone, the other people taking the test this morning failed too... hurrah!... is that selfish?

It was silly really, I worked myself up so much that my lack of sleep due to being pregnant became lack of sleep from pregnancy AND nerves... brilliant stuff. It was like someone was pinning my eyes open last night. I tried to stop myself from being nervous, but my body just took it upon itself to do what it wanted. For some reason my brain wasn't attached to my feet, they were just doing what they wanted to do and I was shaking like a druggie going cold turkey. I have tremors at the best of times, nerves or no nerves, but only in my hands, so technically that, I was expecting. But my whole body was at it today... still is!... My whole body was shaking so much it was like a leaf on a windy day and the Examiner actually said to me that maybe my Anti Natal breathing exercises might come in handy at that moment.... hahahahahaha brilliant! He kept saying deep breaths...  If truth be told I genuinely couldn't have taken a deep breath even if I'd wanted to, I was struggling to breathe in general everyday life without the nerves of the test. The man was lovely he even laughed as I told myself to F' Off then apologised to him for my language hahaha.... It didn't help that my belly looked like something out of the film Alien the whole way through, you'd think he'd have played ball and kept the party moves to a minimal just for that short time... nah awkward little.... even the examiner could see it he said it was weird.

My hormones are all over the place already this whole test thing wasn't helping, learning to drive has been hard enough work in between pregnancy blips, being in and out of hospital, looking after Kyd and a general on going fear of driving so to get me to this point was a miracle in itself anyway. This time last year if you'd have told me that I'd be doing my driving test whilst 32 weeks pregnant... I'd have asked you what you'd been drinking...... and then asked you to share it no doubt.

All in all I didn't do too badly if I'm honest I just messed up a little bit because I was so nervous, tired and pregnant..... only thing is this isn't going to change any time soon and I need to pass before this little sprout is out. I need to learn to drive because I can't get Kyd around with the pushchair etc as it is, add in an extra pushchair and a newborn baby.... It's not going to happen!!

I just see this as an uber expensive lesson... let's hope the next one is the final uber expensive lesson I have to take... I've got a Baby to get ready for then pay for, I'm Learning to Drive, I have a Wedding next year to pay for & the stupid costs of living down South aren't helping..... I'm skint already! (I never do things by halves)

Maybe this whole learning to drive whilst pregnant thing isn't that clever! Well the learning bit is fine, the test bit however has proven to be a little bit more tricky!... Second time lucky maybe?? failing that 3rd... or 4th... even?? I'll get there eventually.....

Friday, 25 May 2012

Down Syndrome Behavioural Changes age 8-12: 'NO, MAKE ME!' are you serious you're 9??

So after thinking he was doing really well with all the change in his life and patting myself on the back for doing a great job in the transition so far, this week came a spat of behaviour issues with Kyd that we haven't seen in a long time.... or ever in some cases.

Now I'm not sure that it is due to the change, the heat, his hormones, his belly pain, his age, tiredness... or a mix of all of them but he's gone from being lovely and helpful to being a completely stubborn and an arrogant little....... you get the picture.

Although this week has been a bit hit and miss, cuddles one minute and tantrums the next, this morning has to have been the worst morning he's had in a long time. He has never been a morning person. He has never really slept well enough, due to sleep issues, to be refreshed enough to jump up like other kids at stupid o'clock in the morning without help or encouragement..... which has actually been quite nice at times!

He knows I can't move him any more due to him being so heavy and strong and now because I'm 31 weeks pregnant with a big fat bump in the way it's another barrier. He decided today was the day that he would use this to his advantage though, even coming out with your regular teenage phrase... 'No, make me!' with a shrug and such a horrible look in his eyes..... I'm not being funny but I wasn't expecting that at 8am or in fact coming out of his mouth at all! All of a sudden he's aged 5 years over night and become a teenager. Where has my baby gone? and who the hell is this tiny teenager they've replaced him with? He's 9! not 14!

It took everything in me not to cry at that moment. I felt like he'd just drained the fight out of me with one sentence. How can he have all of a sudden become so horrid. He was always so lovely...... OK he had his moments but even with those moments he would still do as he was told after a stern voice was put on. I felt useless. Like he'd won a fight that we shouldn't have even been involved in for another 5 years. I know my hormones are all over the place and I do feel a bit useless not being able to do certain things with this bump in the way, but not being able to move your 9 1/2 year old son to discipline him, just hit home at that moment.

He didn't really go through the Toddler/Terrible 2's stage, I had it easy really. I always joked and said it would catch up on me eventually but I was hoping that it would stay just that.... a joke. I am starting to think it's come to bite me in the ass right now. I can understand how much emotional strain there is with a toddler and the worry and panic about what's the right thing to do and what approach is best BUT at least with a toddler you can lift them out of the situation to discipline them..... well if you can catch them that is. With Kyd and his age, height, weight and strength I have no chance of even slightly budging him, let alone picking him up to remove him out of the situation. So if there is danger around him at the time I'm screwed!

I'm worried now that after all the hard work we did with trying to help him understand the change coming up with the baby etc, has he not taken any of that in at all and if not what now?? It could just be that he hasn't slept because of the heat etc. It could've been that he's due for his weekly meds so his belly might be hurting, so he's reacting to the pain and that has effected his sleep too so he's also tired on top of that.

BUT It could also be Puberty...

I know he's only 9 but it has been said that Downs children begin their move into adolescence and puberty and all the issues these bring from around 8-12. I have noticed a huge difference in him over the past few years but not as significant as the ones recently. There are a lot of demands on a child with DS during the ages of 8-12. It is not always easy for a child with Down's syndrome to understand the rules of things in general at any time. For example, a child with DS will need to be helped to understand what is public and what is private behaviour more so than the average child. The only way I can help with this is by encouraging age appropriate and socially appropriate behaviour.... this is harder than it sounds. I've been trying bit by bit to ease him into it but I have no idea what he understands about it and what has just caused more confusion. Remember that emotional and social development may not develop at the same rate as the physical changes in a Down Syndrome child so it's hard to find a balance when discussing the whole thing. It is so frustrating as a parent to not know what he is thinking or what he knows and doesn't know. I can't imagine how scared, confused and frustrated he is and he can't even speak about it because he hasn't got the language skills... I think I'd act up too if that were me. But I can't let him get away with bad behaviour either so it's like catch 22.

Health issues can cause behaviour changes too though apparently. Such as an underactive thyroid can cause lethargy, weight gain and changes in behaviour.... but he's been tested recently and all that is fine... so that has a slash straight through that on my maybe list!! His belly isn't very swollen this week but it could still be hurting him. His bowel problems and constipation cause serious pains in his stomach but he is so used to it he just gets on with it. When he's played up in the past it has been linked to the pain caused by this and the lack of sleep it can cause. He has also always had issues with his sleep from his early sleep apnoea to general waking in the night and not settling because of several other issues. The heat at the moment probably didn't help last night with that to be honest.

In the heat of the moment this morning though we were having a huge stand off. He ran out of the front door and I had to catch him as there were cars moving about on the road, which resulted in a slapped bum (lightly slapped for all those who are just about to phone the social) and a lot of tears... and all this just before he went to school! Brilliant! We discussed the whole thing on the way to school as calmly as I could so he understood why he was being told off and he seemed to be sorry... but I'm not sure he knew what he was sorry for. If I had left it until later he would've forgotten what he had done and it would have caused so much confusion. I had a word with his teachers when we got to class, late I might add, to inform them as to why he was so teary by the time we got to them. They understood and said they'd discuss it and keep an eye on him.

This isn't the first time this week we have had to have words but it was the first time it had got to this stage and I told him that today was his last chance and that he would now have his Playstation etc taken away for a whole week, which just added to the tantrum... and it would only return if he behaved all of next week.

The only issue now is, he is going to Respite this weekend straight from school so I won't see him until Sunday Evening.... when he returns he won't have a Playstation but will he remember why? Or will he spend all weekend thinking about the fact that last time I saw him I was angry with him.... ruining his weekend away and causing problems with the respite carers.

God dammit this is so hard to understand for me let alone him!!

I am praying this sinks in and that he regains his behaviour. I don't think I could deal with this and a newborn baby... here's hoping!

Cross your fingers for me please!

Sorry this was more of an 'I need to get this off my chest' rant than anything else so please ignore me if it sounds a bit woe is me!

Pregnancy Diary: 25/05/12 - Memories of a time that I'd forgotten

As most of you know from previous post's I don't remember much about Kyd or his early years as I seem to have blocked them out. This pregnancy seems to be bringing back a few more than I'd expected though and I'm almost overwhelmed by them.

I'd come to terms with the thoughts & memories of my lovely huge 9 1/2 year old being that tiny were long gone in my head. It was almost like he was dropped on my doorstep age 4, that or Will Smith had come along with his Men in Black memory wiper and zapped me. I've always wanted to find them, I've dreamt about things but I am not sure whether I am making them up or not now.

The other day a lovely lady we know gave us some bits and bobs for the baby. Amongst them was an activity mat & a blow up play ring that they sit in.... I had this instant overwhelming feeling of 'we had them for Kyd' but couldn't quite place it. I couldn't stop thinking about it after either it was bugging me!!!

I remembered though eventually, we had borrowed the exact same Activity Mat from the local toy library and the Play Ring was the same as the one they used at the disabled playgroup he attended weekly. He didn't sit up until he was 1 so this ring was used to prop him & his friends up so they got to play together.

I have OCD so even though they were both clean I began to wipe them both down and clean them... this is when I also began to cry. I put the activity mat together and whilst looking at it I just had this vision of this little bundle laying on it. I was crying because I wasn't sure that my vision was Kyd or whether I was just hoping it was, but either way it was mad. I could see him in my head on that very mat and the thought of the baby in my belly being on that in a few short months too made me panic a bit.

I don't have many pictures to look back on with Kyd and I am determined to make up for that mistake with this one. When the baby arrives I will take a pic of both the boys on the same mat... I might cry again but it will be nice to see and to put that memory aside and bank for another smile on another sunny day.

Memories coming back will be a strong point of the next few years I think... scary thought but exciting non the less.

Stay Tuned....

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Pregnancy Diary: 23/05/12 - Hellllllo Sunshine!! Goodbye Leggings!!

I may regret writing this in a few weeks due to over heating but.........
  
HELLLLLOOOO SUNSHIIINNNNEEEE!!!

Goodbye cold nasty rainy weather and having to wear extra layers, drying the washing on the radiators and carrying a brolly!!....

Yesterday saw the start of a little heat wave, when I say little it's because this is in fact England and will no doubt last only a few days. So I'm making the most of it. I've done more loads of washing in the past 2 days than in the past few weeks. I've washed all the babies things, they've dried and then been put away within a few hours... it's like heaven. All my windows are open fully to air the smell of winter out of my house, I don't know what winter smells like but you know what I mean and most importantly of all.... I can wear flip flops, all my lovely maternity wear that has been too summery to wear up until now and I don't have to wear leggings, which have become my only option during pregnancy!!

You see as a 6ft woman clothing companies don't think you can have babies for some reason..... even the tall lady clothing companies (aimed at middle aged women because young 6ft women don't exist) give you all of a few options of clothing and they charge you stupid amounts for the privilege. I am not about to pay a stupid amount of money for a pair of trousers that don't fit properly, look awful and make me feel like I've aged 20 years, just to wear them for a few months of pregnancy...... what a load of..... SOOOO leggings became my best friend... and then my most hated item in my wardrobe.

Maternity leggings go over your bump, lovely and comfy etc but finding tops that cover my ever growing bump and my bum at the same time has become hard work, even my dresses are starting to look silly now.... Also putting them on has become just as hard as covering them up. My bump gets in the way now, I find myself getting in various yoga positions just to put them on because it's been too cold not to wear them. Plus when trying to look even slightly smart, leggings aren't really that lovely looking and they look a bit silly with certain outfits.

I did manage to find a dress for a charity ball in my wardrobe that fit and did look almost ok with just tights and flats but I just looked huge in it!! It's not really something I could wear regularly either so it didn't count!!

Just to top off the stress of the legging situation, the fact I can't wear slip on shoes, pumps, flip flops etc in the rain has been hard work. I have worn through the only pair of pull on boots I had because they were all I could wear... these also didn't go with anything I had that fit over my bump so making my clothing choices even harder. I moved on to my Ugg boots but when it rained my feet got wet. Then my only dry foot boot option was a lace up army boot, which I could get on but not off, so once on, they stayed on, well until Hoff got home to take them off! This did become quite funny but very frustrating. They also didn't look right with many of my outfits so I was restricted from my restrictions.

Socks were just as hard work but with boots I had no choice but to wear them... the yoga poses also came out for this part too. Which isn't easy with the length of my legs I can hardly touch my toes as it is!!! *I'd like to add I've never done Yoga so I'm guessing these are yoga poses*

BUT NOW... Sunshine!

I can wear a lovely maxi dress that covers my belly, bum & legs, I have quite a few in the wardrobe so I don't even have to buy new ones. I can bypass the socks and boots and go straight to the flip flops and slip ons. I can in fact feel like a girl, with options..... I'm so happy.... this better continue! I'm not too fussed about feeling too hot I'd rather that than be too cold & it's a good excuse to eat as many ice lollies as possible.

I'm just going to pretend I'm Kimberly Stewart for a bit... humour me!!
Only problem is... I'm paler than milk and my feet are all wintery and horrid.... I need some fake tan & I definitely need a pedicure.... HOFFFFFFFF!!!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

More Hospital Madness - Suspected Blood Clot in the Lung... Really??

You know that feeling where everything is going too well and you know something, somewhere in your life will tilt the balance of greatness just so much for you to realise that nothing is ever that simple...... yeah......that just happened to me. I'd had weeks of normality, well as far as normality goes in pregnancy, and I was really pleased that although I was still feeling sick I had escaped any hospital visits or stays...for a whole few weeks!!

I started feeling a little breathless but I was expecting this, I'm 30 weeks pregnant. My ribs were starting to kill me, but I am carrying a baby and this is normal for my ribs to feel a little stress on them. I started to struggle to sleep because of this though...... I like my sleep and this was where the trouble started.

Every time I laid down I felt like a 50 a day smoker that had been kicked in the ribs by an elephant... so I propped myself up with pillows. This didn't work, so the next night I propped myself up even more with a bean bag and pillows... I felt like the princess and the pea. This worked better than the pillows but not very well at all... The following day I felt very rough, my back was killing me from sleeping upright, I couldn't even breathe standing up now and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep.

So after a few days of not breathing very well, not sleeping and feeling like my ribs were crushing me... I decided it might be a good time to enquire with the Midwife whether this was normal or not for pregnancy...... I'd already decided it was........ Yet the midwife decided otherwise.

So I was sent to the GP, who sent me to the hospital... Although I went to the hospital via town as I had a lunch date with the Sister in Law and I was starving so I didn't want to cancel. A GIRL HAS TO EAT whether she can breathe or not and I knew at the hospital I'd be waiting around for hours and I'd pass out through hunger by that point. I'd told the Hoff to stay at work as there was nothing he could do sat there with me and I was determined this was a load of nonsense and that I was perfectly fine so no need to panic, I'd be in and out surely...

I got a taxi to the hospital after a lovely lunch and I did feel a little more breathless by that point but I didn't think it was obvious until I was in the lift at the hospital and a nurse looked at me like I had food on my face. She said 'are you ok? you look like you're struggling'  She said 'where are you going?' I said 'CDU' she said 'me too' then proceeded to hold my arm like I was a 90yr old until I got to reception. Maybe I was a little more breathless and ill looking than I'd first thought. They rushed me over to a bed.... all a load of fuss over nothing I thought... although it felt much better sitting down with my feet up.

So I waited, they prodded and poked me, then I waited again. Luckily Kyd's school have an after school club which I could send him to and then Hoff could pick him up from before 6 or I'd have been stuck. They decided it wasn't a chest infection and that baby was fine, even though my Braxton Hicks were coming thick and strong... but they were worried it was a blood clot on my lung.... A WHAT????

A blood clot?? really?? they're serious though aren't they?? They said that they needed to do tests but because I'm pregnant this wouldn't be that straight forward. They needed a specialist test so I'd have to wait for Monday... again, this is madness, It was FRIDAY, this happened here before where the specialists only worked Monday - Friday, 9-5 and anything outside of those hours would just have to wait. But there we go these are doctors and they do what they want, so I just had to get on with it.

Until the tests were done I had to return back to the hospital daily for Blood Thinning Injections... I am perfectly fine with injections, blood tests and all that jazz but these little suckers bloody hurt. They're fine when they go in but then they sting for ages after and bruise like a bugger. But they had to be done as it would stop the clot from moving around if it's there.

By the time Monday came I was still determined that there was nothing wrong with me and although the sleep deprivation, the fact that 90% of the time I couldn't breathe in more than a pea sized amount of oxygen and the pain in my ribs was slightly more like a 10 ton brick was attached to it, I was in fact just suffering from pregnancy... I am quite stubborn but I was now scared of the out come of the tests just in case. What if I did have a blood clot? What if I had to have those blasted injections for the rest of my pregnancy?... I couldn't deal with that. I had a bit of a break down that morning more because I'd had only a few minutes sleep but I just couldn't deal with all the pain any more. I put it down to hormones and sleep deprivation but it worried the Hoff. He had an important day at work ahead and I knew that so I was insistent he worked. He needed to concentrate and to me his work was more important than waiting with me so reluctantly he dropped me off at the hospital and went back home to get on with it.

The XRay
I forgot that pregnancy meant it was dangerous to have an xray but there were special measures they could take to do one anyway. So I held a scarily heavy metal jacket over my belly and stood there nice and still like a good girl... I sneaked a peak at the computer after and I couldn't see anything so it eased my mind a bit. I started feeling a little bit dizzy and sick but I just thought it was because I'd been stood up. But the xray was now done and dusted and I could go back and wait for my scan.

The Scan
I waited for a bit and had a quick visit from a very teary Mummy Spud who announced that I looked rough... which was nice lol. I understood what she meant as I had looked in the mirror and I did look pale & ill. The porter came to get me and as it was so far away for the scan he brought a wheelchair... sooooo much fun in those things! He was like a race car driver he was that quick Mummy Spud followed me down the corridor, wished me luck and then went back off to work. I was left to finish the race course that were the corridors of the Royal Berks with the porter who was busy telling me that the block he was taking me to was haunted. Just as he said that I looked up and on one of the signs in big letters was 'ALICE - WEST --->' with an arrow pointing where we happened to be going he said 'eeewwww spooky thats your name... someone must have known' hahahahaha he was brilliant. It was a bit weird but lovely as I'd forgotten where I was going for a few seconds.

I was waiting in the waiting room on my own after that and the ghost story had weirded me out a bit. For some reason I couldn't keep my eyes open, I'm not sure whether it was the quietness of the waiting area or the fact that I was so tired but I found myself drifting off. I woke myself up with an 'I'm not asleep' snort... it was so embarrassing I am so pleased there were no other patients in there just nurses, even if they were giggling.

They took me into the scan room and injected me with water and a very small dosage of Radiation that would be sent straight to my lung so baby wouldn't be effected but the small dosage was used just to be safe. It didn't make me feel too great when she said to me 'because you've had a small dose it'll take longer to do the scans' the seat was sooooo uncomfy and I had to sit up straight the whole time which at first was ok but after a few minutes began to really hurt!! I was there for ages. I felt so ill by the end of it I thought I was going to collapse.

The Wait
I went back to CDU and they sat me in the waiting room again... within 5 minutes I had almost been sick on the old lady next to me and fallen off my chair due to dizziness. I got hold of the nurse and told her I was going to be sick and she rushed me to a bed. Turns out my blood sugar was low and I was just in need of food.... derrrrr Alice you numpty, you're pregnant, it's lunch time, you need food! They made me a sweet cup of tea and told me to stay on the bed. I had text Hoff and told him I felt rough so he came to sit with me just in case and bought me a sandwich.

The Result
Luckily shortly after the doctor came with my results.... ALL CLEAR, NO CLOT!!

Now I'm not being smug, I know they were just doing there job, BUT wasn't this what I said in the first place?? It's better to be safe than sorry I know but I was pretty sure it was just a pregnancy thing and nothing serious and now I'm covered in bruises from the injections and recovering from a full weekend of panic...

Turns out that it could just be a bug that has attached itself to my lungs and causing havoc but will go eventually in it's own time... I still can't breathe properly and my ribs still hurt but at least I know it's nothing horribly nasty.

I actually slept last night though Wuhooooo, after completely barricading myself in with pillows and being sat up but not too straight, with a slight relief that I didn't have anything horrid lurking in my lungs, I slept for more than a few minutes at a time. I woke up a few times but I slept most of the night annnnnnnd I may have slept through my alarms and was late getting Kyd to school..... brilliant parenting there Alice!! BUT at least I slept and boy did it feel good!!

The Conclusion
Breathing and sleeping are so over rated! I can deal without them... well sort of.

Right here is my vow... I vow not to be back in that hospital until I'm actually giving birth... preferably in 9 weeks time and nice and easy, in and out jobby...

Oh and I am going to be wary of phoning up the midwife to ask questions about 'what's normal' as this leads to a scary worried voice from her and a lot of bruises and worry later I'm always fine....

Oh my final vow... I'm just going to Man the F Up for the next 9 weeks...

We'll see how this goes ay?

Friday, 18 May 2012

Petrified of getting Post Natal Depression... for the second time.

This is a difficult post to write. I've written about my post natal depression with Kyd in the past and it was hard to stomach knowing people were reading it but I needed to get it out to get it sorted.... If that makes sense.

Sometimes in life things happen that don't make sense, depression is one of them. It's something which is generally out of our control, it can creep up and get you as slowly or as quickly as it likes. There are different types and it effects different people from all walks of life, from doctors to single parents, men or women and it effects everyone in different ways. It is a silent illness that can be easily hidden and sometimes deadly. Many people don't understand it and most don't even realise they have it, but for some... it takes over their whole life and they struggle to deal with the consequences.

With Kyd I struggled through pregnancy what with general teenage angst, bad relationship, fear and hormones and then after with the diagnosis. According to the doctor now, I had a mix between PND and Post Traumatic Stress stemming from the shock of the diagnosis. I had it bad but I hid it well. I became a pawn in my own game of lies and deception.... and I was good at that game... in fact I won hands down.

I'm petrified this will happen all over again.... as much as I like winning...... this is a game I'd rather not play again.

I couldn't go back to that. I know my whole life and situation is different now but I have this hidden feeling that this baby is going to drag all that out into the open and I'll be back to lieing and pretending that I'm coping, when I'm not.

I hate not having control over this. I have had to come to terms with the fact that depression is part of my life and I am a pawn in it's game rather than the other way round. I struggle regularly and if knocked by even the slightest thing in my life, I panic, as I feel it coming like you feel a cold coming on. But I've learnt to hide it with a smile and go and hide in a corner and sit it out, so not to upset or panic people & let's face it after 10 years it would get very boring for the people around me if I cried at them all the time. I have learnt to see the signs now which is good and I get help when needed. I actually panicked slightly thinking my depression was making an appearance again when actually it was just my raging hormones and really I was a few weeks pregnant. I had sat there in a complete state, I had begun to cry at nothing again and I really did get the feeling of 'oh no please not again' but I thought I'd eliminate the obvious by doing a pregnancy test before asking for help from the doctor. I was honestly expecting the test to say 'Not Pregnant' due to all the tests etc and at that point it wouldn't have surprised me if the test had said 'Depression' like some scary dream but in fact it said 'Pregnant' and from that moment I knew that these were just hormones and although this was the start of a very scary few months, I knew I could try and control them so they didn't stem to depression itself.

Is this the start?

I don't think I've kept this up that well, what with this pregnancy being traumatic in one way or another the whole way through, I haven't had time to enjoy it. I have found myself pretending that I'm happy about particular pregnancy things to other people and forcing myself to be happy about stuff that I'm really not bothered by, when in fact I have no feeling what so ever about it. I have been brushing things off and distracting myself. It's only when I see other overly happy and enthusiastic pregnant women that I realise I'm actually not that enthusiastic about it. I'm petrified. I'm scared of so many different elements from Kyd's reaction to over all failure and it's holding me back....

But I don't think it's just that. I think I can't settle until he is in my arms and the doctor has said 'he's perfectly healthy'. I know this is normal for a new mother in general but what with what happened last time, I can't seem to settle until he's in my arms and I know and can see for myself that he is healthy and with no diagnosis of anything. I know I've had all the genetic tests done and they were all clear but until I see him for myself and I know for myself, I don't think I am going to believe it. Because at the moment I don't and the excitement is all forced.

I feel stupid saying that out loud, I should be so happy at the moment and really looking forward to it all, but in the back of my mind I am heading for a fall so I can't. I know in the long run non of this will matter and I will be all happy happy but I can't help but feel cynical as it's me, nothing ever goes that right or straight forward. It's like there's a big fat wall in front of me and the happy, excited pregnant me is stood behind it I just can't get to her... I don't know whether this is Pre Natal depression or just pure paranoia and panic but it's OK I am handling it and I've not got long left now, just over 9 weeks and I will be proved wrong and wondering what I was worrying about... until the baby blues set in... *worried face*

I am not going to lie, I still cry myself to sleep at night every now and then and I generally have no idea why. I have the normal pregnancy panicking going on, plus the fear of diagnosis added in but still the biggest and scariest panic of all... will PND come back and kick me in the teeth? The truth is, I won't know until the time and if and when it happens I will have to deal with it... BUT WITH HELP THIS TIME!

The greatest thing I can do for myself right now is be aware of the signs...

The symptoms of PND usually include one or more of the following:
  • low mood for long periods of time (a week or more)
  • feeling irritable for a lot of the time
  • tearfulness
  • panic attacks or feeling trapped in your life
  • difficulty concentrating
  • lack of motivation
  • lack of interest in yourself and your new baby
  • feeling lonely
  • feeling guilty, rejected or inadequate
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • feeling unable to cope
  • difficulty sleeping and feeling constantly tired
  • physical signs of tension, such as headaches, stomach pains or blurred vision
  • lack of appetite
  • reduced sex drive
The greatest thing those around me can do to prevent me going back to the hell I was in before is... BE AWARE OF THE SIGNS... this is as important as I tend to hide things... I'm stubborn.

There is so much in the news at the moment of devastating circumstances where PND has lead to death of  women and children. If you or your friend, family member, mother of your child etc can relate to any of the above... talk about it... Get Help... don't let it grow... believe me it can all go so wrong if you don't kick it. It could lead to devastation and disaster if left to fester. Don't feel ashamed, Get Help.

There is also more help and awareness on the way apparently according to the Government... fingers crossed they stick to that... we will see.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Can you prepare a disabled child for a new Sibling?

Kyd has Down Syndrome, you know this already. He is 9 1/2 (the half is very important at this age lol). He is an only child... always has been, obviously.... BUT not for much longer as I'm 30 weeks pregnant... as you know....

My biggest worry at the moment is how is Kyd going to cope with this huge change. I have so much running through my head about it, the what ifs, the hows, the strategies to think about and all that jazz... My main worry is... we just don't know what is he thinking about. He can't communicate what he's feeling very well and his reactions vary and are very unpredictable. We just don't know what he understands and what he doesn't. It's making me panic a bit.... can you tell? The biggest questions I have are 'how is he going to react to the new baby when he arrives and how do we deal with it?' 'how do I explain things like don't pick him up etc without telling him off or isolating him?' and 'how do I do all this without having the foggiest what the hell I'm doing myself?'

So how do you do the transition from 'Only Child' to 'Big Brother' after nearly 10 years of it just being him, without really freaking him out with the dreaded change?! Apparently, according to research, I need to focus on 'Explaining in simple terms and working on a step by step transition'... Easier said than done I think!

So after a lot of reading this is what we have been doing, I'm not really sure if we have actually done anything different or overly fantastic to be honest, but I have been trying...

Explaining in simple terms...

Kyd has been involved in this pregnancy from the very start, whether it be handing me a glass of water during the morning sickness to coming to the midwife appointments with me. We were a bit reluctant to explain it in full at the beginning as we had no idea what was going on ourselves. But we 'step by step' explained it to him without having to sit him down and go into detail, as I personally think this would be harder for him to understand and take in.... but would it? I think I was just scared to explain it. Was the 'step by step' way the best way or have I missed a trick by not sitting him down and telling him all at once and getting it out of the way?

He knows that babies grow in their mummies tummy. He knows that it takes time to make a baby in the tummy. He knows that sometimes it's a boy and sometimes it's a girl... and that unfortunately we can't pick which one it is. He also knows that babies take a lot of care. That they cry and they poo, puke and sleep a lot and take up a lot of mummy's time. We have discussed where the belly button comes from and the whole umbilical cord thing and we have even discussed child birth... to some extent.... which was fun *sarcasm*.

He knows that he will be the 'Big Brother'.... but I'm not sure he knows really what this means.
At the moment being Big Brother to him means... Sacrifices and change.
He has had to sacrifice his play room for the baby as it will now be the nursery. I read somewhere that doing the transition between giving up their own space for a sibling should be done over a good few months and that he should help with decorating, decisions and organisation.

This leads in to the 'Step by Step' system so highly recommended.

We started moving his toys into his bedroom bit by bit after I was given the all clear from the doctors about the genetic tests. We then moved the Sofa Bed to under his cabin bed and told him that he was really grown up now having a sofa in his room. Also that this meant he can have his friends sleep in his room with him when they have sleepovers. He Loved this. We kept some toys, the TV and his playstation etc in the play room whilst we decorated. He helped pick the wallpaper. He also helped paint the walls, he is very proud of himself and tells everyone he painted that bit and that bit... He helped put up the furniture too. FINALLY this bank holiday weekend we moved the TV etc over to his bedroom, after lots umming and ahhing about it. We don't want him using it too much so we have agreed with him at certain times of the day we will take the remotes to his tv and computer and that he only had certain times he could play it... So far so good but it's only been a few days I'm expecting tantrums about timings etc to come.

The play room is now officially a nursery... Kyd seems very happy with it. I think we did the right thing doing it in stages. I think one big move over would've been too much of a change so the 'Step by Step' system has proven to actually work here.

BUT this is before the baby is here. So he has no playroom now but to him this doesn't matter as he has it all in his bedroom 'like a big boy' & he sort of knows what is coming.... But what about the everyday changes the new addition will bring. The noise. The time he has to share between him and the baby. The new routines. Ohhhhhhhhhh it's never ending. We jump one hurdle and reach another.

So when he gets here how do we deal with it?

Kyd loves babies... but he's never lived with one! Will the noise get too much for him? or will he just deal with it? It's easy to say 'He'll get used to it' when discussing your average child but with a disabled child this isn't always the case. It can cause distress and a whole array of problems. He is going into puberty soon and his mood swings are already setting in, getting him ready for this will be hard work... getting him ready for this with an added baby brother in the mix... might just tip him from manageable to unmanageable. WE JUST DON'T KNOW.

I may be panicking for no reason here but if there is a way around the issue, we will have to try and do it... successful or not.

NEXT STEP... Scheduling KYD time...

I know this is your average parenting with new siblings etc I've read up on all sorts of parenting methods for these things. Scheduling specific days and times for time without baby and just with parents is a proven method for reducing jealousy. We have already discussed this with him. We have a list of his favourite days out and things to do and we will schedule in at least one of these a month. He will still have the all important football every other week too which will help as baby won't be there and it will be just HIS time as normal. Luckily he will still get his Respite care once a week and a whole weekend a month. This is with a lovely respite care family who are HIS 'friends' they aren't anything to do with me or the rest of the family... they are just HIS! We have the time where baby is in bed where he will do his homework and his reading book every night. I think we have KYD time covered.

... Including him in baby's routine...

Apparently if you let him have a job to do (with your help) to help with Baby, he will feel more involved in the whole thing and therefore he will feel more comfortable around baby....

My only issue with this is I will have to be careful with what he helps with as he will take it upon himself to 'help' the rest of the time and I may not be around to supervise. I know he's not stupid, he knows that he should leave it to me or Hoff but sometimes when in 'Help mode' he fails to act on that. He acts impulsively this is all part of his disability and this scares me a little BUT as long as I'm on track and paying full attention at all times it should be fine.... I might be kidding myself here, can you hear the sarcasm.

We are using cloth nappies and when we received the pack of them the other day I had him practice on a teddy just like we were. He was so good!! He picked it up quicker than Hoff, but then again it's been 30 years since Hoff was in nappies Kyd still wears them so he had a head start. He really enjoyed helping me and passing me the bits and bobs so maybe this can be his job. He can help me with the nappies... This may not be a final decision, as once the smell hits him... we may have a runner so we will see what and where to go from there with the whole Help thing... worth a try.

and FINALLY taking our time to take in the change AS A FAMILY...

Kyd has taught me over the past 10 years that life has to be taken day by day. He has his own ways and his own agenda in life and I have to just get on with it and pay attention to where he's going when he goes there I have to just support him and follow. Pushing him to grow up, succeed in certain things and accept changes will just cause upset all round. He goes at his own pace. He learns at his own speed. He understands what he understands and whether we understand that, is a completely different story.

I believe we can prepare our kids for change, but we can't predict how that particular change will effect them or how and why it does.... until it does. Prevention might be better than the cure in most cases, but we can never predict what we have never experienced ourselves. Sometimes you just have to take steps and then pray. This is the only way parents of children with disabilities can live their lives. All children are different, that includes our children, they may be named and labelled but those labels don't come as standard, they depend on the child, the situation, the effects of the diagnosis and even life itself. Life is a journey and on that journey we learn, we live, we laugh, we cry... and in my case.... we panic and we prepare for failure.

Whilst writing this post I've realised I started with panic and manic questions and finished answering my own questions and coming to the conclusion, I've done all I can do with the research I've done AND I will just carry on doing what I'm doing and deal with it, when it, whatever 'it' is, arises. I'm not stupid, I know my child and although I don't know how he'll react... I'll react accordingly with whatever that may be...

I think, I think too much!!... I love it when I resolve my own issues with writing a blog post... blog therapy is the way forward I tell you!!!

I'll keep you updated on what, why and how Kyd reacts to his new brother in due course... 10 weeks to go... *eyes widen* jeeeeeesssssuuussss that's not long is it!!!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Pregnancy Diary: 01/05/12 - Welcome to the 3rd Trimester...

I'm 28 weeks this week... I'm in my 3rd trimester finally!... 12 weeks to go!

Wuhooo the final trimester... I thought the second trimester was supposed to be easier than the first or so I'd read... LIES!... this pregnancy has been completely unpredictable and it likes to do what it wants... a bit like Jimmy Kebe *football joke in there for all you RFC folks, ignore it if you're not*. So I'm not expecting anything I've ever read about the third trimester to be true either!!

So far this week...

  1. I've learnt that if I eat Chinese it will play havoc on my stomach and cause excessive and unnecessary heartburn.
  2. I can't eat since I had it either because I feel sick, Kyd has a bug so I think it might be that.
  3. It's horrid and wet so I have to wear winter clothes to keep my bump warm... of which not a single thing fits me because all my bump wear is for Summer!!
  4. I also have to wear boots to keep my feet dry... but once I get them on... I can't bend to get them off so they're on all day.... helpful!!
  5. The horrid weather is however a good thing in only one way... as I can't go out 'on my own' Doctors Orders, but I don't want to go out anywhere anyway because it's horrid so I'm not bothered *small mercies*
  6. My ribs are feeling like they are cracking from the inside still and it's now all the way round instead of just the left hand side.
  7. I haven't slept AT ALL all week! mainly because I can't get comfy due to my ribs and partly because HE WON'T STOP WRIGGLING.
  8. And because I am currently harbouring a night owl in my womb... I'm now panicking this is a sign of things to come. UH OHHH
  9. The heartburn and indigestion has slowly got worse over the week too...
  10. Oh and I'm getting fat... which was inevitable but still very annoying!

So, so far The Third Trimester.... can sod off... along with the last 2...

How is it that I spent 10 years telling people I loved being pregnant with Kyd and that it was the aftermath of the pregnancy that was the problem and now I'm pregnant in which the aftermath has already been mapped out as normal and the pregnancy is being awkward?! I also said I'd love to feel that feeling of being pregnant again, as I missed my bump and the movements inside... I think I am getting old and grumpy but I am now thinking I was SOOOOO wrong about that too! This pregnancy has been a nightmare for me from the start!

In a year or so's time if you hear me saying 'ahhh I miss being pregnant' Kick Me hard in the shins and remind me of this post... Thank You in advance!

*Quick note on My Ribs*... I was diagnosed with Tietze Syndrome a few months back after months of agony which was misdiagnosed as a trapped nerve in my rib. It's a horrendous pain in your ribs that feels like a heart attack at it's worst and like a dull ache the rest of the time. Very rarely diagnosed by the GP and often seen in A&E mistaken for symptoms of a heart attack (difficult to explain in full so click the link). Once diagnosed it is easily treated with at least 6 months of anti inflammatories.... Which I can't take because I'm pregnant!!! So I have No other options but anti inflammatory cream which isn't tested on pregnant women, but apparently harmless when used sparsely... worrying! I only use it every now and then because of this which is why I'm in pain at the moment.

Bring on the sanity of the next 12 weeks!!!... Or not as the case may be....